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John Tierney, 2 rivals run close cash race

Big hauls indicate campaign strength

John Tierney.

John Blanding/Globe staff/file

John Tierney.

A Republican and a Democrat hoping to unseat US Representative John F. Tierney reported robust fund-raising hauls during the second three months of the year, leaving them with substantial war chests, and indicating Tierney will have to fend off well-funded challengers in the months ahead.

Democrat Seth W. Moulton and Republican Richard R. Tisei each raised more than $400,000 in April, May, and June — significant sums for challengers — and each ended last month with more than $790,000 in the bank, according to summaries of filings they shared with the Globe.

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But Tierney raised a comfortable amount during that period as well. Spokeswoman Lauren C. Soltani said final numbers were not yet available, but that the congressman raised more than $400,000 in the quarter and ended last month with more than $1.2 million in the bank.

Moulton, a former Marine, is hoping to wrest the Democratic nomination away from Tierney, a longtime congressman, in the Sept. 9 primary. Tisei, who narrowly lost to Tierney in 2012 after a bitter general election fight, is vying for a victory in his second run to represent the North Shore-anchored Sixth Congressional District, which stretches from Bedford to Salisbury.

Tierney is seen by nonpartisan analysts as the most politically vulnerable of Massachusetts’ nine US Representatives, all Democrats, this election cycle.

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While the candidates’ quarterly fund-raising reports were not yet available online Sunday — and are not due to the Federal Election Commission until July 15 — the campaigns of Moulton and Tisei shared summaries of their cash hauls during April, May, and June.

Moulton, a novice political candidate with three degrees from Harvard, reported pulling in $414,000, spending $274,000 and ending June with $791,000 in the bank.

Tisei, a one-time state representative, state senator, and GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, reported raising $469,000, spending $218,000 and ending last month with $820,000 in the bank, according to his summary.

Soltani, the Tierney spokeswoman, said in a statement that the congressman’s campaign was on track to win.

“Overall, we feel good about where we are and are confident that we’ll have what we need to win in November,” she said.

Candidate fund-raising is a public metric that often signifies the health of a campaign. Money in a campaign’s account can be used for expenses that include paying staff salaries, to buying lawn signs, to making TV ads and putting them on air.

Paul Watanabe, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said Moulton’s and Tisei’s substantial quarterly fund-raising hauls “indicate that people sense an opportunity there and that opportunity is drawing a significant amount of non-Tierney money.”

Still, the proliferation of outside political groups means there is likely to be substantial spending in support of and in opposition to Tierney outside of the candidates’ campaigns. Indeed, Democratic and Republican-aligned groups have already reserved millions of dollars worth of television time, some of it expected to be used in the congressional race.

Tisei will be the sole Republican on the primary ballot and there will be three other Democratic candidates besides Tierney and Moulton vying for their party’s nomination on Sept. 9. Immigration lawyer Marisa A. DeFranco, John Patrick Devine of Woburn, and John J. Gutta of Groveland, all Democrats, will also appear on the primary ballot, according to Secretary of State William F. Galvin.

Fund-raising reports for each were not available online Sunday evening.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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